ArtNews has published Andrea Rosen’s long email to her clients announcing her move from running her own gallery to focusing her professional life on the Felix Gonzalez-Torres foundation.
As part of that transition, Rosen will no longer maintain a gallery but work through David Zwirner. The verbiage of Rosen’s email is so dense and self-involved it obscures some basic details that will be of interest to the broader art market.
An example from the email is below. But the main questions are fairly straight forward. They stem from a few apparent facts: artists estates have become the focal point of value in the current market. Estates seem to provide greater value than managing the careers of living artists.
Zwirner has been aggressive in pursuing artists’ estates. Gonzalez-Torres is a big win for his gallery empire. Rosen is exiting the gallery business while ensuring a vocation for herself.
What becomes of the rest of Rosen’s staff is unclear. Rosen says her gallery will continue to exist as a representative of Gonzalez-Torres’s estate but will no longer have a space nor, presumably, the same number of employees.
It doesn’t appear that Zwirner has purchased Rosen’s enterprise so his gallery seems to have pulled off a huge coup. Here’s part of Rosen’s email announcing the move:
When I approached David in November with the proposition, we were talking about quite a typical collaboration of two galleries and how that would unfold…. What I did not expect was that over the course of our many weeks of conversation, that I found myself initiating a secondary internal dialogue. I privately came to realize, parallel to our discussion, that having David Zwirner Gallery share in the responsibility to the work of Felix Gonzalez-Torres or the idea of collaborating with other galleries, freed me to think about what is my true responsibility to our times. What is the most productive role that I can play, not only for Felix but for the role of my gallery, my role in the art world, and the world at large? My clarity evolved over the last few weeks.
I have come to realize that in order for me to be fearlessly open and responsive to our times and the future, requires mobility, flexibility and the willingness to change, and consequently, I have decided to shift my life, and the focus of the gallery, in a significant way. While the gallery will continue to exist, with selective activities, like the representation of Felix Gonzalez-Torres, I will no longer have a typical permanent public space and therefore no longer represent living artists. This transition will transpire over the next few months.